07/28/2005 11:00PM

One Man Army has winner in only 2002 foal


DEL MAR, Calif. - The stallion One Man Army has a perfect record with his first crop - one stakes winner from one foal.

Last weekend, Soldier's Kiss, a filly by One Man Army, won her fourth consecutive start in the $100,000 Fleet Treat Stakes at Del Mar, a sprint for California-bred 3-year-old fillies. She is the only filly that One Man Army produced in 2002.

The win was particularly gratifying to owner-breeder-trainer Bruce Headley, who raced One Man Army and bought him as a yearling.

"I've always wanted to breed my own," Headley said.

To produce Soldier's Kiss, Headley partnered with Bud and Judy Johnston, who owns Old English Rancho in Sanger, Calif., where One Man Army stands. The Johnstons and the Headley family own Butterfly Kiss, the dam of Soldier's Kiss. Butterfly Kiss never raced.

The mating of One Man Army to Butterfly Kiss was a test breeding and was the only one conducted in 2001, Headley said.

While Old English Rancho is one of the state's most prominent stallion farms, One Man Army is far from an active stallion. Headley said there are 12 to 14 weanlings in the crop born this year, and 11 yearlings that he will begin breaking in coming months. Headley said One Man Army was bred to about 16 mares earlier this year and has two 2-year-olds on the track.

Typical of many Headley-trained horses, Soldier's Kiss did not start at 2. She finished sixth and fifth in her first two starts at Santa Anita during the winter before coming alive during the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting.

In three consecutive starts, Soldier's Kiss won a maiden race, an allowance race against statebreds, and an allowance race against open company.

The Fleet Treat Stakes at seven furlongs was her first appearance in a stakes. Soldier's Kiss led throughout, winning by a nose. She was challenged by Somethinaboutlaura for the first half-mile, by Short Route on the turn and in early stretch, and was nearly caught by Gn. Group Meeting at the wire.

"I thought she ran so green because she never got a breather," Headley said. "Everyone was testing us."

Soldier's Kiss has won 4 of 6 starts and $166,660.

One Man Army stood for $1,000 this year.

"I bought him the same year I bought Kona," Headley said, referring to the 2000 champion sprinter Kona Gold.

Bought for $35,000 at the 1995 Keeneland September yearling sale, One Man Army won 2 of 24 starts and $83,454. Both of his wins came early in his career. In a division of the 1997 Oceanside Stakes, One Man Army finished third, 2 1/4 lengths behind Churchland. It was his only stakes appearance.

"He was a brilliant mover," Headley said. "He just got beat two lengths in the Oceanside. He should have won a stakes."

A glance at his breeding reveals that One Man Army is qualified to be a successful stallion. By Roman Diplomat, he is a brother to Diplomatic Jet, a six-time stakes winner who won 9 of 51 starts and $1,267,202.

Both Diplomatic Jet and One Man Army are by Roman Diplomat and were bred by the late Fred Hooper. Headley said that One Man Army's bloodlines are ideal for the sort of matings he prefers.

Whether those bloodlines appeal to other Californians will be known next winter, when the breeding season resumes. By then, Soldier's Kiss may have provided One Man Army with even more attention.